For some reason I’ve found myself surrounded by pregnant women recently. Not young nubile first-timers either, but women my age. Give or take a few white lies.
There’s the mom of two who’s sheepishly asking me if I’d ever consider a third, the telltale sign–if I’ve ever heard it–that she’s already carrying one of them there fertilized eggs around with her. There’s the mom with the size 0 body and the teeny baby bump who keeps complaining about howwww faaaat she is. And there’s the friend who’s stuck on bedrest so I bring over the kids and some chocolate once a week and we order in dinner.
What I’ve come to realize in recent weeks is that I do not miss being pregnant one single bit. Not a smidge. Not even a teeny little fraction of a microbe of an iota, if there is such a thing.
Spending time with these women, these beautiful, glowing paeans to fertility, it reminds me of those things about pregnancy I do not miss – little hairs that cropped up in mysterious places, the nipples the size of pancakes, the inability to order spicy tuna rolls. I forgot about how the humidity seemed to affect my ankles more than my hair (which is saying something). I forgot that I was supposed to feel guilty every time I ate brie. I forgot about the sleepless nights, the hormonal fluctuations that lead to the Random Bursts of Crying. I forgot that abject look of horror on my face the first time I spotted myself in our lobby’s full-length mirror and realized that my ass was sticking out even further than my belly.
I was definitely not a good pregnant person. And oh, bless you women who are because I know there are more of your kind than there are of mine. Bless you bless you.
Of course I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there were lovely, lovely aspects of those 40 weeks that I wouldn’t have traded for all the Twix bars in the world – the generous smiles from strangers on the street, the first fluttery baby kicks, the joy of never having to suck in your stomach at a party. But while some women just wear their pregnancy like a bespoke red carpet ensemble from Milan, me, I mostly felt like a big, fat, teetotaling incubator.
But today, the further I get from those days, the fuzzier it all seems. Like some evil hazing ritual I had to endure to get to the joy on the other side.
(And by joy I mean joy plus being kicked in the head all night by a crazy non-sleeping two year-old. )
I can safely say that the ovaries have waved the white flag and the fallopian tubes are well into enjoying their retirement, despite depleted 401(k)s and the iffy June weather. You could waterboard my uterus and it would still refuse to go back to its intended biological use. Mostly I think it’s just happy to hang out and support my bladder. Maybe catch up on reality TV.
There are twinges you feel when you get to a certain age (ahem) and realize that soon, it won’t be your own choice to have another child; it will be up to your body.
It’s nice being okay with that.